NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson's athletic ability was questioned by Seahawks receiver Golden Tate.

LOUDON, N.H. — Jimmie Johnson has two titles he is especially proud to have linked to his name. Five-time NASCAR champion. AP Male Athlete of the Year.

Johnson was swept into a brief Twitter feud this week because of his inclusion as a nominee for male athlete of the year at the ESPY Awards.

Seahawks receiver Golden Tate posted on his account, @ShowtimeTate, “Jimmy johnson up for best athlete???? Um nooo .. Driving a car does not show athleticism.”

Tate, 22, angered NASCAR fans and posted, “12th man get these rednecks off me.”

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More Tate tweets:

• “I’ve driven a car on unknown roads at night at 90mph no big deal. No sign of athletism.”

• “Guarantee he couldn’t in million year play any SPORT.”

• “give me 6 months of training and I bet I could compete.”

NASCAR defenders got Tate’s attention.

“Apologies for my offensive comment to NASCAR fans. I actually read up on it and NO I couldn’t race a car 150 mph,” he wrote.

Johnson, 35, found humor in the posts and jokingly said, “I was impersonating an athlete at the ESPYs.”

Including playoffs, Tate played in 13 games for the Seahawks last season as a rookie and caught 22 passes.


Ryan Newman won his 47th career pole, turning a track-record lap of 135.232 mph at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart was second to give Stewart-Haas racing a front-row sweep.

Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw will start 10th in Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., will start 20th.